“We do not spend more money unless it is absolutely paid. So it does not contribute to the inflation index,” said Representative Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), One of the caucus’ most vocal critics of public spending, who is likely to support the bill. provided there is no bad news from Congress. ‘goalkeeper in the coming days.
“Taxpayers do not want us to increase the deficit. We’ve already spent $ 5 trillion, for god’s sake. Time to curb the violent consumption, while making sure that it does not increase the inflation index, “said Schrader.
Democrats go ahead with a vote on their far-reaching bill, largely convinced that new data from the Congressional Budget Office over the next 48 hours or so will be enough to win over half a dozen stubborn moderates. Once that happens, the House Democrats will have to quickly move on to the task of explaining what’s in their bill – and why injecting more cash will actually help control prices in the long run.
It will not be easy to find the balance. Some senior members and aides have privately complained that their party has not yet given them enough tools to fight back against the flow of GOP attacks on the subject, looking for more than Biden’s latest discussion points which includes a recent letter from more than a dozen Nobel laureates in economics.
Many Democrats from battlefield districts are quick to acknowledge their alarm at the about 6 percent increase in consumer costs, the fastest 12-month pace since 1990.
“I’m worried about inflation. And I noticed that myself at the petrol pump. Prices are rising and I know it’s stressful for people, especially around holidays,” said Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), Who represents a swing district.
Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), A centered Blue Dog whose district is just outside Los Angeles, said he blames the pandemic for the city’s clogged ports, which has led to mass shortages.
“I’ve seen inflation since the 1980s,” Correa said, dismissing a broader, economy-wide fear of inflation. Instead, he said, it is more limited to certain goods.
“We need to make sure the aftermath of Covid-19 does not continue. That’s the problem right now. Covid-19 deficiency,” Correa said. “Ship shortage, why do they have ship shortages? Covid19. “
The concerns have been more potent in the Senate, where centrist Sens. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) Have been raising inflation fears for several months.
“I’m very worried about inflation. That’s all I hear about when I’m home. People are very, very worried,” Sinema said in an interview, recalling a recent trip to the grocery store where she was shocked by her own . bill.
“Costs continue to rise. So seeing this kind of record high inflation, which is the worst we’ve seen in 30 years, so certainly in most of my life, is very worrying. And it’s definitely top of mind for Arizonans, said Sinema.
While GOP leaders have argued that congressional record spending is to blame for the recent rise in inflation, top Democrats say the reality is far more complicated than the government’s red ink during a public health emergency.
“Inflation is a real problem, we have to deal with it. We are dealing with it in the infrastructure bill, which will help with supply routes,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday. “We know that when supply is not available, prices rise . That’s the simple reason why there are other, more complicated reasons. ”
Democrats argue instead that Biden’s biggest legislative priority could actually help solve supply chain problems and lower the costs Americans pay for things like prescription drugs and child care.
“The Build Back Better Act is going to address these cost-of-living issues in a crucial way. Some might argue in a historically transformative way,” said Democratic Caucus President Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.).
Republicans have used inflation as a hug against Democrats and see it as one of their biggest weaknesses heading into the midterm period. They argue that spending packages will exacerbate inflation as Americans enter the holiday season.
Strategists have already highlighted rising gas and food prices in ads on key battlefields. An ad this week from the American Action Network – part of a $ 2 million purchase across half a dozen districts – is targeting the rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) And trying to tie him to inflation.
“There is no end to the creativity that Republicans are willing to use when they are not bound by the truth,” Kildee said of the GOP attacks.
Marianne LeVine and Heather Caygle contributed to this report.